One of the really cool VMworld finds I made this year has to be Stromasys. They do hardware virtualization of various old hardware platforms including the VAX, DEC Alpha, and other OpenVMS and HP 3000 type stuff.
Here is a brief overview from their website:
“In view of this situation, Stromasys developed the virtualization solution CHARON. CHARON emulates PDP-11, VAX systems, and AlphaServers without the need to change either the binary code or source code. Thus, the operating system versions remain the same and the applications continue to run unchanged, allowing the business process to be kept intact. “
In my opinion, this is huge! I have visited several customer sites (mostly county government type offices) that still have DEC AlphaServers online. Why? well mostly for billing and accounting purposes. Why haven’t they upgraded? Well in some cases they have, but in other cases, the administration feels that the program “just works” and see no need to switch to a new software package because of costly conversions. Even those offices that have upgraded to something newer normally are required to leave those older systems online for historical purposes.
So where does Stromasys’s software fit? Well, why not virtualize those servers that are online for historical purposes? You then get all the benefits of virtualization and hardware independence while incurring NO software conversion costs for your apps. This allows you to keep these systems online for a very very long time compared to the aging DEC hardware will last because as the x86 server ages it can be replaced and the virtual machine can be migrated to the new server.
Stay tuned for more on these guys as I am hoping to try out their software in the future… I just need to find a good test workload and contact the guys at Stromasys to see what kind of trial licensing I can get.
In the meantime check out a video from their site.